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Australia's biggest banks owe customers billions of dollars after the royal commission. This is how much each has actually paid back.

Jack Derwin
  • ASIC has released the latest compensation figures paid out by the country's big banks, including Westpac, ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie, and AMP.
  • In total, $749.7 million was paid out by the six entitites as of the end of 2019 to compensate customers hurt by fees-for-no-service scandals and bad advice.
  • NAB topped the list with more than $203 million in payouts, while each is expected to pay out hundreds of millions more this year.
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More than a year on and the banks' bill from the royal commission is still outstanding.

While the exact figure remains unclear, it's certain the country's biggest banks owe customers billions of dollars after years of unfairly rorting them. While their executives appeared contrite in its wake, they seem to still be moving slowly to repair the damage.

The six biggest banks, ANZ, NAB, Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank, AMP, and Macquarie Bank, had paid $749.7 million as of the end of last year, according to official numbers provided by regulator ASIC. The money was paid out to their customers who suffered "loss or detriment" as a result of fees-for-no-service or advice provided that wasn't in their best interest.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have once dismissed the royal commission as a 'populist whinge', it turned out to be a comprehensive lesson in corporate greed, detailing how banks and other financial institutions pursued profits over people.

Fees-for-no-service scandals made up the lion's share of the payouts. It covers both the failure of the banks to provide advice to customers who knowingly paid fees for it as well as for customers who were charged unwittingly.

In total some $607 million has been paid to just over 872,000 customers, for an average payout of nearly $700. 'Non-compliant advice', or advice provided that was not in customers' best interests, meanwhile proved far more costly per customer. More than $141 million has been paid back to just 7,051 customers, or around $20,000 each.

NAB has so far paid back the most, spreading around $203 million to almost 587,000 customers. It's followed by the Commonwealth Bank on $174 million, AMP on $167 million, Westpac on $106 million and ANZ on $95 million.

Macquarie's standing is a little more difficult to ascertain. It has paid out almost $2.6 million on fees-for-no-services charges but was not included in the data for bad advice. That's because it' struck an agreement with ASIC in 2013 to pay some $24.7 million compensation and adjust its model.

ANZ's figures also might be lower, given it sold its financial advice business to IOOF, another disgraced financial institution in 2018. IOOF, therefore, may have paid out more compensation to former ANZ customers, but the exact figures remain unreported.

ASIC's figures are of course only a partial scorecard. It doesn't include the scalps of executives that the royal commission claimed, the $700 million paid by the Commonwealth Bank as part of its money laundering scandal, nor the potential $1 billion-plus bill likely to be paid by Westpac as part of the ongoing Austrac investigation.

Just how much higher customers payouts will climb remains unclear. CBA, for example, has previously put aside more than $400 million for fees-for-no-service alone, and more than $700 million for compensation generally. Analysts have previously put the combined figure at some $3 billion, with $875 million of that to be paid in 2020.

Given that, there are still quite a few banking customers left empty-handed.